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Masui. 2000 Feb;49(2):195-200.

[Anesthesia, department of anesthesiology and anesthesiology--why has anesthesiology not been accepted socially in Japan?].

[Article in Japanese]

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Department of Anesthesiology, Hirosaki University School of Medicine.


An incorrect Japanese terminology of "Masuigaku [symbol: see text]" has been used widely to express "anesthesiology" or "anaesthetics" [symbol: see text] since the first Department of Anesthesiology was established in Tokyo University in 1952. The reason why the nomenclature "Masui-gaku" is wrong is as follows: Japanese nomenclatures for clinical medical sciences should include a Chinese character "Ka [symbol: see text]" such as "nai-ka-gaku" for internal medicine, "ge-ka-gaku" for surgery and "gan-ka-gaku" for ophthalmology. Accordingly the name "Masui-gaku" is erroneous to mean "Anesthesiology" and it should be "Masui-ka-gaku" [symbol: see text]. Thus a big confusion has occurred among lay people as well as many physicians in medical field. "Ma-sui" is etymologically a Japanese word which Dr Seikei Sugita coined when he translated a Dutch edition of J. Schlesinger's monograph on ether anesthesia in 1850. "Ma [symbol: see text]" means analgesia or loss of regional sensation and "Sui [symbol: see text]" means loss of consciousness. Most people consider that "Ma [symbol: see text]" is originated from "[symbol: see text] (Hemp, Asa)" or "[symbol: see text] (Marihuana, Taima)", however, this is definitely incorrect and "Ma [symbol: see text]" of "Ma-sui" has no direct relation with the pharmacological effect of hemp. Thus the misuse of "Masui-ga-ku" might have caused serious academic and social confusions, such as misunderstanding of anesthesiologists as comedical technicians, leading to a poor social acceptance of anesthesiology and anesthesiologists for these fifty years in Japan. To correct this confused situation I would like to ask our colleagues to use correctly these nomenclatures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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